A Whole New World – 24 days till publication

“You found a key in there.”

I didn’t, but that never stopped him from calling me a liar.

“Hidden by my twin brother. It holds some importance to me. If you return it, I reward you.”

And forget about what happened today. I know. He promised me before. If I knew which key he wanted, I returned it a long time ago, to get rid of him. But I don’t know and therefore, I need to get away. Fast.

The corridor behind me is out of the question since it’s filled to the brim with students and teachers. Instead, I rise and jump out of the window of the three-floor building.

This was the original ending of chapter one. Every word of that last sentence I chose with care, but in the end my publisher wanted me to change it.

To be fair: a lot of beta readers wanted me to change that ending as well. And I fully understand why, too. But before I explain that, let’s go to the ending of chapter one as it sits in the book.

“You found a key in there,” he insists.

I didn’t, but that never stopped him from calling me a liar.

Hidden by my twin brother. It holds some importance to me. If you return it, I will still reward you,” he says.

He forgot what happened, but because I found nothing, that won’t happen. My last chance is escape. Fast.

The corridor behind me is out of the question since it’s filled to the brim with students and teachers. Instead, I rise and jump out of the window onto the grass field.

The biggest difference between the two endings, is that in the first I mention he jumps out of a three floor building. For people with autism, that sentence says exactly that: Monty jumps out of a building that has three floors. It doesn’t say which floor, though.

But for most readers (without autism) they read something entirely different. They made a connection in their heads we all learned to make: if someone gives us a detail, it’s there for a reason. In other words, I can assume he jumps from the third floor.

Except: I never said that.

As a result, I received the following question a lot: Does Monty have super powers?

Let’s face it: he has (that’s what the book is all about), but not in the way you may think. If Monty jumps out of a window on the third floor, he will most certainly break something when he lands. He didn’t break something because he never jumped from a window on the third floor. He simply jumped from a window in a building with as many floors. But he jumped from a window on the first floor.

Truth is, I aimed for confusion. I wanted my readers to feel first hand how it feels to be autistic in our world. But, since this is my debut, I couldn’t risk alienating my readers too much, either. So I agreed to change the ending of chapter one and made it clear from the start that Monty isn’t jumping from a third floor.

Have fun!

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